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Government Determined To Plug The Skills Gap

Skills gaps which dog too many young people's training and employment prospects will be closed, the Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey was speaking as he released Skill New Zealand's post-election briefing paper. The lack of an over-arching skills strategy has led to too many New Zealanders being excluded from participation in employment and gaining higher skills and rewards. Providing clear and effective skills pathways for young people to succeed in today's complex and changing world is the Government's priority.

"This Government is on a mission. Our 21st century skills strategy will make a real difference to the training and employment prospects of young New Zealanders.

"At present too many school-leavers are faced with a lack of options for training or employment. These young people become lost to the education system without entering work or training.

"A successful transition from school to adult life depends on strong links between senior school and the wider world. As every parent knows, this period in a young person's life can be fraught with difficulty, particularly for those who have not done well at school.

Our Modern Apprenticeships Programme (MAP) will provide both technical and broader skills relevant to today's workplaces and will give young workers a sound qualification for a career. An announcement is due in late March.

"I am also looking more broadly at the possibility of new initiatives such as Gateway programmes to build more pathways between school and the workplace.

"The job of any Government is to safeguard the future prosperity of the nation it serves. Our commitment to invest in the skills of young New Zealanders is the key ingredient to ensure success in the knowledge-based society of tomorrow", Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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